Warning as NI diabetes figures soar

Warning as NI diabetes figures soar

The number of people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland has soared by a third in five years to more than 80,000.

The increase in diagnoses means 4% of the population now has a form of the condition.

Arthur Templeton has been living with Type 2 diabetes for several years now.

He explained: "The main problem was that for a period of time before I was diagnosed my blood sugars were very high and I have diabetic neuropathy so I have no feeling from my knees down and I have to be careful with my feet."

If not managed correctly, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to more serious health conditions, such as blindness, lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

New research has found there has been a 33% increase of people living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in Northern Ireland. The vast majority of them - nine out of ten - have Type 2, a condition that has been linked to risk factors such as obesity.

But the study also found that there are currently 1,000 children and young people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and its cause remains largely unknown.

The Northern Ireland director of the Diabetes UK charity, which is behind the report, says it presents a "stark warning" to the health service.

Iain Foster said: "It puts immense pressure on the health service, as well as the human suffering and the reduction in life expectancy.

He added: "We spend £1m a day in Northern Ireland on diabetes and the majority of that is spent on preventable complications, so as well as reducing the human impact of diabetes we need to reduce the financial cost to the health service because we cannot continue how we are going.

"We will bankrupt the health service if we don't change how we will deal with diabetes."

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